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The Rosett Report

If You Like Crimea, You Can Keep Crimea

March 1st, 2014 - 12:25 am

Garry Kasparov sums it up, in a tweet posted by PJM’s Bryan Preston: “Dictators like Putin don’t ask why use power. They ask why not.”

That’s the bottom line for understanding what is happening as gunmen take over the airports and set up check points in Crimea. Reportedly these are well-armed soldiers without military insignia, but there’s little doubt that they are there in service of the Kremlin. This is an ethnic-Russian-majority region of Ukraine, a place long primed for trouble. In 1783, Catherine the Great wrested Crimea from the Turks. In 1954, during the Soviet era, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic gave Crimea as a Potemkin fraternal gift to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the borders suddenly mattered, and newly liberated Ukraine was in possession of Crimea, complete with the seaside resort of Yalta, the regional capital of Simferopol, and the port of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Twenty years ago, while working for the Wall Street Journal in Moscow, I made a trip to Crimea to look in on a volatile power play then going on there. A local politician loyal to Kiev had pushed through legislation creating the post of a Crimean presidency — hoping that if he ran for the post and won, he would acquire enough autonomy to somehow balance the conflicting pulls of Moscow and Kiev. He lost, to a pro-Russian candidate, Yuri Meshkov. Part of the local color in Simferopol during that election was Meshkov’s campaign base, the clubhouse for the local Society of Afghanistan Veterans — where pro-Russian veterans in  combat fatigues sat around drinking imported American beer. The scene then was a powder keg. But it did not go off. Russia was weak, and in the early years of what was then presumed to be the New World Order, America, victor of the Cold War, was a highly credible force. Perhaps it also made a difference that not so long before, in 1991, the U.S. had led a coalition to war in order to beat back Saddam Hussein’s invasion of  Kuwait.

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Top Rated Comments   
Don't forget the smug and condescending mockery Mitt Romney received for suggesting Russia was our biggest "geopolitical foe".

Whatever one’s thoughts on Romney, every single foreign policy warning and prediction he made on the campaign trail and in the debates has come to pass exactly as he warned and predicted. We can argue about his domestic agenda, but the world as a whole would be a better safer place had he won.

Obama’s foreign policy disasters will still cause pain long after he leaves office.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin warned that if Senator Barack Obama were elected president, his "indecision" and "moral equivalence" may encourage Russia's Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

"After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Sarah Palin, 2008

For those comments, she was mocked by the high-brow Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who now is one of the editors of Politico magazine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
European newspapers say that Putin has just asked the Russian army to invade Crimea.

Maybe there is a video somewhere that drove him angry ?
Maybe Obama should have some video-maker arrested...

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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President Fluff,
Tries to look tough,
As if he might start shootin'.
Russia grins while CNN spins,
"Screw you Obama", laughs Putin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If an election were to be held in Eastern Ukraine/Crimea, a large majority would vote to split away from Kiev and Western Ukraine, and become a separate country, allied to Russia -- or to become a part of Russia itself. The majority there are ethnic Russians, and feel as pro-Russian as Western Ukraine feels pro-EU. The obvious solution is partition.

The basis of democracy is the right of a people to choose their own government. We should support that right, even when the government they choose is not the one we would.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about Texas? I would move there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Too bad the Berlin Wall wasn't put in storage, looks like we could use it again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I used to listen to the John Batchelor Show on which you have appeared, but stopped after he and other supposedly Republican guests seemed to mock those challenging Mitt in the primaries and then mock Mitt when he secured the nomination. Hope he doesn't get too worked up over this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Incompetence in Foreign Policy is the one thing the MSN cannot spin no matter how hard they try. It is just too visible and reverberates too much throughout the world. So much of our electorate is so ignorant regarding what this Ukraine affair really means.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If America does not lead, on terms that even Putin must take seriously, the next loaded question is, who will?"

So, what would you have America do, go to the brink of war with Russia? The current mess in Ukraine is the fault of Ukrainian hotheads, along with Neocons and other EU and US elements who encouraged them. Yanukovych was elected in a fair election. Mob rule in Kiev and elsewhere ousted Yanukovych. I don't care how many English-speakers or Twitterers were among the Kiev demonstrators--they were a mob which acted against the rule of law. And the general opposition to Yanukovych foolishly disregarded the rule of law, Russian-speaking Ukrainians and Russia's interests.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Yanukovych was elected in a fair election."

Do you honestly believe that a man with so much financial fraud is free of voter fraud?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Heh. We p***** in Russia's Wheaties, now Putin is the bad guy?

You know that you're defending Obama and his 'smart diplomacy', right?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin warned that if Senator Barack Obama were elected president, his "indecision" and "moral equivalence" may encourage Russia's Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

"After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Sarah Palin, 2008

For those comments, she was mocked by the high-brow Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who now is one of the editors of Politico magazine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't forget the smug and condescending mockery Mitt Romney received for suggesting Russia was our biggest "geopolitical foe".

Whatever one’s thoughts on Romney, every single foreign policy warning and prediction he made on the campaign trail and in the debates has come to pass exactly as he warned and predicted. We can argue about his domestic agenda, but the world as a whole would be a better safer place had he won.

Obama’s foreign policy disasters will still cause pain long after he leaves office.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder how smug Western Europe feels at this moment?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
European newspapers say that Putin has just asked the Russian army to invade Crimea.

Maybe there is a video somewhere that drove him angry ?
Maybe Obama should have some video-maker arrested...

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe it was a video of Kerry proclaiming that Mother Earth is a terrorist so Putin decided to shut down his oil/gas routes by "occupying" Crimea.

P.S.: Love the European liberal polite use of the term "ask" instead of directed, commanded, ordered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those protests in the Ukraine were about a video ? .. right ??
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FOXNEWS too:

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country's military in Ukraine.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Crimea is strategic for the Russians and always has been. Don't forget that the original Crimean War was fought between the British and the Russians in 1853. I don't doubt that Russia will do anything and everything to secure Crimea. I also strongly suspect that our little child President really doesn't care.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
yeah, obi will pose and pose.

He reminds me of the line from Shakespeare: "Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing....".

Of course that's not quite right either. The election - and re-election! - of Obama signified a profound illness in the body politic. As Shakespeare also said "The fault lies not within our stars but within ourselves."

[This was meant as a reply to daveinga, not a standalone comment.]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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